Crains makes a tit of itself

Crain’s Manchester Business is a valuable resource for finding out what’s going on in the world of (Greater) Manchester business. Wide coverage, pungent analysis. One thing we’ve noticed here at MCFly Towers is that they don’t seem to cover climate change very much. But given the quality of the following editorial, by Steve Brauner, maybe we should be grateful?

March 8, 2010 An economic climate
Population, not pollution, is chief threat to future

By Steve Brauner, Editor
1)After a winter cold enough to freeze the brass neck off an East Anglian professor, it is no wonder that global warming, as it used to be called, no longer strikes terror into the heart of those with time to waste on having their opinions surveyed by pollsters.

Which part of GLOBAL warming are you having problems with?
The satellite data (and nobody disputes this, btw) shows that January was- globally- the warmest since satellite records began.
Personally I blame the idea that you can discern global trends from what’s happening in a few islands off the coast of Europe on Doctor Who- where the aliens who invaded always focussed on south-east England.
It was the fourth warmest January on record

And if you take just the satellite readings, it was the warmest

Last week, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its monthly “State of the Climate Global Analysis” for January.
We see blowout warming in the satellite temperature record, which is so beloved of the anti-science crowd since they think — incorrectly — it doesn’t show warming. Note that in UAH, we crushed the previous record.
In NOAA’s own surface dataset, January is slightly less record-shattering:
The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January 2010 was 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F). This is the fourth warmest January on record.

2) Thanks to the Northwest Climate Change Partnership, we learn that just over two out of five businesses think climate change will affect them.
3) I take this to mean that very nearly three out of five businesses think it will have no impact whatsoever.

Or they might think that it will have big impacts elsewhere, or elsewhen- i.e. Not a short term problem they want to do a lot about now? The argument is spurious, anyway, since there are plenty of examples of people within a sector not spotting problems ahead. Economic meltdown of 2008, anyone??

4) This impression is reinforced by another finding in the “Perceptions of Climate Change within the Northwest 2009” report: that 67 per cent of businesses “do not currently look for advice on the issue”.

5) Mind you, considering how much advice we are given on the subject whether we want it or not, why would anybody have to go looking?

6) I recently had the misfortune to stay in a holiday apartment where BBC Worldwide was the only English-speaking television channel.

7) Its news coverage consists almost entirely of handwringing about climate change, usually by people filing reports from exotic locations at the licence fee payers’ expense.

That’s an exaggeration, I am sure. Poor show. “Hand-wringing.” Nothing like emotive language to keep an argument rational and clear-sighted, eh?

8) Strange, isn’t it, that the search for stories about climate change takes television news crews to Nepal and the Amazon and not the banks of the River Irwell?

As I am sure you are aware, Steve, the earliest evidence of climate change that has pictures (the great beast television only feeds on pictures, not words) is in the tropics and the poles. There IS work being done on the challenges we face in Manchester. It’s called the Ecocities Project. It’s being funded by the Bruntwood property group. Maybe you’ve heard of them?

9) One of the reports I recall watching was about the melting glaciers in the Himalayas — based on a now discredited claim in a United Nations report.

Sigh. You are repeating a canard. The people at “Real Climate” (as in, real climatologists, who know what they are talking about) have this summary

Himalayan glaciers: In a regional chapter on Asia in Volume 2, written by authors from the region, it was erroneously stated that 80% of Himalayan glacier area would very likely be gone by 2035. This is of course not the proper IPCC projection of future glacier decline, which is found in Volume 1 of the report. There we find a 45-page, perfectly valid chapter on glaciers, snow and ice (Chapter 4), with the authors including leading glacier experts (such as our colleague Georg Kaser from Austria, who first discovered the Himalaya error in the WG2 report). There are also several pages on future glacier decline in Chapter 10 (“Global Climate Projections”), where the proper projections are used e.g. to estimate future sea level rise. So the problem here is not that the IPCC’s glacier experts made an incorrect prediction. The problem is that a WG2 chapter, instead of relying on the proper IPCC projections from their WG1 colleagues, cited an unreliable outside source in one place. Fixing this error involves deleting two sentences on page 493 of the WG2 report.

10) Before the eco-warriors get on the warpath, I should say that I do regard the degradation of our environment as a serious matter, but suspect that it can only be remedied if the number of humans on the planet stops increasing.
So, you’re trying to claim high-moral ground/deflect from your ignorance by talking about an unrelated issue.

On Population, check out the Yale 360 piece by Fred Pearce, who has been writing on climate change for the New Scientist for two decades.
“Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat” It’s overconsumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental problem: By almost any measure, a small portion of the world’s people — those in the affluent, developed world — use up most of the Earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions.

Given that 1 westerner is worth about 80 Bengalis, maybe we should start with some population restraint here?

11) Set against the ticking time bomb of population growth and the implications it has for the world’s finite resources, arguing about whether human activity causes climate change seems rather pointless.

Finally, you say something sensible. Arguing about climate change is pointless. Preparing for its impacts- social, environmental, and ECONOMIC is something we are all going to have to do, whether we like it or not.

To do that, we need accurate information and sensible analysis. Editorials like this are frankly an embarrassment. Greater Manchester’s capitalists are ill-served by such tripe. You wouldn’t see the Financial Times running such puerile and baseless sneers as an editorial.

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About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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